Reviving again...sorry about this!
I've noticed that the new players are being suppressed. Yesterday, a birthday party came to our field. 50 or so people showed up, bought tons of paint and air, rented everything, and set up. Not one team, or experienced player, or anything offered anything at all to them. It wasn't until I took my team over to talk with them a little bit that people started paying attention to them! I think every time I've gone for the past two or three years, I've taken at least one new player with me. I've gotten possibly twenty people into the sport through my years playing, which isn't nearly enough, but it's something!
The problem, like I said above, is that the newbies aren't getting near the attention they should. I've seen multiple players in $4000 worth of tournament gear completely ignore the newbies, refuse to play with them, and talk down to them. They need to be nurtured! They're the future of our sport! Without them, we'll all turn into old men and eventually the sport will die. I think this thread was started back in '08 or '09, when the economy was really bad. Well, the economy is still pretty bad, and paintball is the first thing to go as far as hobbies going out the window. I don't think I'll get out of paintball for quite a while, so I'm doing more than my share of getting newbies into the sport and keeping them there! I fix their guns for free or the cost of the part, I help them adjust packs and masks, I advise them on gear purchases, I give them advice on snap-shooting and moving under fire...all of these things are helping our sport to grow! If more people did this, like my team and I, I think the sport would be growing! I live an hour away from the nearest field, and I used to live twenty minutes! We've lost three fields in the past four years, and I don't think this last one will close. They have a large population and it's BYOP and no refs, so they don't buy anything but the CO2! They have a big compressor, so they can fill air for a few pennies, and their employees are all paid low salaries or are related to the owner.
So, paintball is definitely wounded, but not dying just yet! Fields are still around, manufacturers are still making markers and equipment, and the sport keeps growing in most areas! Keep up all the good work, guys!